If you’re currently doing the Beachbody Body Beast program or are interested in starting, here are 10 rules to follow:
Establish Your Calorie Intake
The first rule of bulking up is…EAT!!! When bulking, it is important to increase your consumption of calories. In order to make sure you are reaching your goal, you must first figure out how many calories are needed in order to maintain your current weight. Now you have a baseline to increase your calorie total. According to ACalorieCounter.com, men should eat an additional 250 calories per day and women should eat an additional 125 calories per day to build muscle. In order to maintain your baseline, you should consume 10 calories/pound of your bodyweight. This is a line that can stretch for 500 calories. Also you must calculate the calories you are burning during exercise. For every Joule of energy you burned, you must replenish those calories to your body. A good rule of thumb is, if you aren’t gaining…eat more!
Stay on Track
In order to stay on track, eat often and be sure to plan your meals in advance. Planning meals not only ensures you are eating the appropriate amount of food but it helps you avoid eating foods that are not part of your meal plan. Remember balance is essential. Be sure to include foods that are high in protein, complex carbs and veggies. Since the goal is more calories, more meals will help you achieve that goal. A key strategy to consume a good size of calories is to space out your meals equally throughout the day. Instead of large meals of 1000 calories, break those down into multiple 500 calorie meals. This will also provide your body time to properly break down the foods, creating prime opportunity for your metabolism to work at its highest level.
When bulking, the amount of protein you consume is crucial. You will need to consume about 1 to 1.5 grams of protein for every pound of body weight if you wish to completely maximize your muscle gain. Protein shakes like Shakeology are great post-workout in addition to eating chicken, turkey, fish, and even quinoa. While protein is the main ingredient needed for muscle growth, you must not forget to have a healthy balance of carbohydrates and fat. These two components along with sugars are needed for the body to properly absorb proteins.
Have a Good Balance
When we are trying to bulk, it is important to have a calorie-dense food diet. You can achieve this through various types of foods, giving you a great balance of choices, which will help keep you engaged in this process. Eating the same food every night can easily cause many to lose interest quickly.
• Protein: chicken, tuna, fish, lean beef, eggs, steak, turkey
• Carbs: oatmeal, beans, brown rice, pasta, potatoes
• Fruits: berries, apples, grapefruit
• Fats: natural peanut butter, olive oil, nuts, seeds, fish
• Dairy: cottage cheese, milk
• Vegetables: lettuce, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, cucumber, onions, tomatoes, zucchini
Eat Your Vitamins
During the bulking process, optimal levels of vitamins B and C are needed for healthy digestion. While this is important in any diet, it is even more crucial in calorie-dense bulking diets. Your micronutrient levels must be maintained in order for your body to function at its highest level and taking multi-vitamin is an easy way to get the necessary ones in the right amounts.
The process of bulking is only about 20 percent weight lifting. The other 80 percent is your nutrition and diet. You can lift all you want but if you don’t put the right things into your body, you will not see the results you want. While bulking, we have a 1-hour window post-workout to achieve optimal nourishment to our muscle groups. By providing your body with the nutrients needed to repair itself during our optimal window, you allow your muscles to stretch, grow, and strengthen in a healthy fashion. You should consume about 45-50 grams of protein and anywhere from 50-100 grams of carbohydrates post-workout. As we discussed before, protein shakes like Shakeology are a great source and way to achieve maximum replenishment after a solid workout.
Get Enough Sleep & Eat Before Bed
When we sleep, a growth hormone is released that stimulates muscle recovery. Let me say that again– sleep is crucial for muscle recovery. You have heard that you need a solid 7-8 hours of sleep each night. When you are bulking you might consider getting 9-10 hours of sleep each night. Studies have shown that drinking a protein shake before bed can actually inhibit deterioration of the muscles. In fact, when you are bulking, eating before bed is essential. Just don’t overdo it by eating too many carbs before bed.
Be A Carnivore
Meat is a calorie-dense food which is great for bulking but it also has other benefits to our diet as well. Meat, a natural source of creatine, vitamin B12, amino acids, and several oxalates also contains a reasonable amount of fat as well. If you are still trying to shed some weight and convert it into mass, chicken and tuna are great light options. If you are purely trying to add mass through bulking, red meat such as ground beef and steak are the way to go. A common saying, “You are what you eat” is extremely true while bulking. The meat we consume as humans is mostly muscle. Eating muscle helps turn into muscle.
With over 60 percent of the human body made up of water, drinking the right amount is vital to keep the body operational. Replacing the water that we lose throughout the day is necessary to prevent dehydration.
Increase Calories Gradually
It is important in order to maintain a healthy change in muscle mass, we increase our calorie intake on a gradual scale. If we blast our body with too many calories in a short amount of time, we will not achieve the level of gradual gain to our muscle strength we desire. Increase your intake in small increments of 100-300 calories per day over a 1-2 week period, allowing our body to make the proper adjustments in our system.
Following these ten rules will give you the best chance to bulk on the Beast and optimize your diet in the process.